Murder trial hears baby's injuries 'consistent with abusive trauma'

A paediatrician has told the trial of a man accused of murdering his ex-fiancée’s baby, that injuries on the child were consistent with abusive head trauma.

Philip Doyle (aged 34) of Tinakilly, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering three-and-a-half-month-old Ross Murphy at 3 Creagh Demesne, Gorey, Co. Wexford on April 5, 2005.

The court has heard the baby was initially taken to Wexford General Hospital on March 31, 2005 because he was "lifeless" and getting sick on the bed.

The baby was kept in for observation because of a rash on his neck and released on Sunday, April 3, but returned to the hospital that evening in cardiac arrest.

He was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin in the early hours of the next morning but died the next day.

Dr Colm Costigan, a consultant paediatrician at the children’s hospital, told Mr Paul Carroll BL prosecuting that after observing Ross Murphy he reached the opinion his injuries were consistent with abusive head trauma, which resulted in his death.

He said he was later given an account by gardaí that Mr Doyle had fallen with the baby but he said his opinion did not change as he said it did not explain all of the injuries or their severity.

Mr Doyle originally gave an account to gardaí that the baby had been shaking his head from side to side but in a statement to gardaí on April 27, 2005 the accused said that he tripped on the corner of a mat and fell on a timber floor with the child in his arms.

Nueropathologist Dr Michael Farrell told Mr Tom O’ Connell SC prosecuting there was very severe brain injury which he described as fatal.

He said it would be speculation to say how the injury was caused, as it was not witnessed and that he was not present for the autopsy.

Under cross-examination by Mr Giollaiosa O’ Lideadha SC defending he said that he was told of an account given by Mr Doyle to gardaí of him falling with the baby in his arms.

Dr Farrell said when the head stops moving the brain continues to move and impacts the inside of the skull causing bruising of the brain.

Under re-examination he agreed with Mr O’Connell the only injuries he saw were injuries to the brain.

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy previously told the court she concluded the baby died from brain trauma from which he would not have recovered.

Prof. Cassidy said such trauma would not be expected to occur in a not yet mobile child without some explanation and there was deep bruising consistent with the trunk being firmly gripped and that haemorrhages inside the eyes “highly suggested a shaking incident.”

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and five women presided over by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.


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